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Stand Up! Prolonged Sitting Leads to Obesity and Worse

A recent study reveals that there is a significant correlation between long periods of sitting and increased numbers and size of fat cells. Learn how prolonged sitting can lead to obesity.

The recent study, conducted in Israel, showed that the amount of time that you spend sitting can significantly affect your overall health. As it turns out, fat cells that are compressed, in the way that the fat cells in your buttocks are when you sit, will show a greater rate of growth of fat mass. This is one reason why a sedentary way of living can lead to chronic obesity.

Amit Gefen, a professor at Tel Aviv University, states, “We found that fat cells exposed to sustained, chronic pressure — such as what happens to the buttocks when you’re sitting down — experienced accelerated growth of lipid droplets, which are fat depots.” 

Once the structure of a cell is changed, and the mechanics are affected, lipid droplets accumulate and can ultimately result in an expansion of up to 50% of the original size.

Muscle tissue and bones will get weaker when they are not used, but fat cells will continue to grow. By applying pressure, as you would by sitting, the cells seem to thrive, and will grow accordingly. As they grow, they also stiffen, which affects all of the cells in the surrounding tissues, too. 

States Professor Gefen, “As these cells mature and gets stiffer, instead of like cushions they become like steel bowls. This will push and deform nearby cells and produce more fat.”

Diets that are rich in fats and sugars are certainly contributing to obesity, but this study illuminates how sitting in a sedentary position for long periods of time can exacerbate the effects and cause expansion of the fat cells. 

As the cells grow, they become deformed, and will not function properly and be very difficult to change back into their original form.

This research further confirms other studies that encourage people to become more active. Whether it is getting out for a daily walk or hitting the gym, exercise and physical activity is extremely important when obesity prevention is concerned. 

Those who remain sitting for extended periods of time are at a very high risk for obesity.

It is not only diet that contributes to chronic obesity, but, certainly, activity level plays a significant role. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting adequate physical activity is necessary for preventing obesity, which is important because this condition can lead to so many other serious, chronic health concerns.


SOURCES:;; Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

SOURCES:;; Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /